Where next for UKIP?
Let me first express my hope that the readers of this blog have managed to squeeze in a good nights sleep since election night. Sleepless election nights are a cornerstone of British democracy.
I think it is fair to say that many of us were prepared for a bad night for UKIP on June 8th but still it was shockingly bad and I think we can all agree on that – there was a surprise too, the amount of votes that UKIP clearly lost to Comrade Corbyn’s Labour Party.
We need to talk about this because the expectation that UKIP would gradually replace the Conservative Party has given way to the stated aspiration of replacing the Labour Party as the voice of the patriotic working classes and indeed there was a time when our support base was strong amoung the D/E social strata.
Firstly, I don’t buy the argument that basically these Labour returners ‘betrayed’ Brexit – Labour openly committed to Brexit in its manifesto. To say they betrayed Brexit is to buy into Theresa May’s phoney propaganda that only she and ‘Theresa May’s Conservatives’ can deliver Brexit, something that is looking increasingly implausible by the hour. We have to remember that this group is a) as Nigel Farage rightly stated, extremely anti-establishment in its attitudes and b) (this is the cause of a) is routinely stamped on by the Conservatives.
So, here we have a first explanation for this desertion – openly siding with the Conservatives over Brexit will not have gone down well especially, and we often forget this, since the Conservatives ARE the current establishment. Secondly, we had a wonderful and costed economic program that we barely mentioned during the campaign so, Mr Corbyn’s heady mix of insurgent charm and a magic money tree that is as unrealistic as it is appealing in theory at least doubtless charmed this group.
We cannot fall into the trap of just addressing purely the socio-cultural concerns of our supporters while failing to address the fact that economically life is hard for them – we are making the mirror image of Labour’s mistake which addresses purely economic concerns and dismisses their social conservatism as something to at best politely ignore or at worst actively dismiss and denegrate.
Paul Nuttall’s noble and necessary resignation has opened up a leadership vacancy and offered us a chance to take stock and chart a new course. I have to admit I have yet to be wowed by any of the potential runners and riders. We have a lot of work to do. Internal reform is necessary and must be top of the list for a new incumbent. The NEC needs serious reform. We need to review the list of rules and regulations and introduce the enlivening breeze of transparency to the NEC and its proceedings.
Our Party machine needs fine tuning and developing into a serious fighting machine not the current clunking fist it gives the appearance of being sometimes. Specifically we need to be geared away from fighting PR elections to fighting FPTP ones which are an entirely different beast. We need to keep our heads high because the current dogs breakfast of a government will not take long to go off the rails, the country has a Prime Minister it just gave the middle finger too at the ballot box and we need to deploy all our main batteries against Mrs May before her personal toxicity destroys Brexit.
We are down but certainly not out, the road ahead is not going to be easy but the purple revolution has merely been postponed not cancelled.